Used cooking oil imports may boost deforestation | 2019-07-16

Used cooking oil imports may boost deforestation

16 July, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Used cooking oil imports may boost deforestation

Imports of a “green fuel” source may be inadvertently increasing deforestation and the demand for new palm oil, a study says.

Experts say there has been a recent boom in the amount of used cooking oil imported into the UK from Asia, reports BBC.

This waste oil is the basis for biodiesel, which produces far less CO2 than fossil fuels in cars. But this report is concerned that the used oil is being replaced across Asia with palm oil from deforested areas.

Cutting carbon emissions from transport has proved very difficult for governments all over the world. Many have given incentives to speed up the replacement of fossil-based petrol and diesel with fuels made from crops such as soya or rapeseed.

These growing plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and so liquid fuel made from these sources, while not carbon-neutral, is a big improvement on simply burning regular petrol or diesel.

In this light, used cooking (UCO) oil has become a key ingredient of biodiesel in the UK and the rest of Europe. Between 2011 and 2016 there was a 360% increase in use of used cooking oil as the basis for biodiesel.